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After my first visit over four years ago, a Compra Venta offer is in, the sellers have accepted the deposit and the process has begun on the purchase of my home in Playas. Don’t want to say to much until we are further along in the process, fingers crossed and I am soon to own my vacation/retirement home.

PEOPLE Pics – Quito

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Shopping in Quito

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OLD TOWN QUITO Pics

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QUITO Pics

The atmosphere is very different in Quito than in Guayaquil… sort of like Calgary versus Edmonton.
Quito is obviously a capital city… the paved streets, the architecture, the parks and the finishing touches at street level welcome the walking tourist. The Metrovia (dedicated bus lane) or trolley bus line runs parallel north & south from the west to the east side of the city. The hostel staff encourages you take a taxi (for $5.00) to the north bus terminal to start your day trips but it’s just one bus, an easy ride for just 25 cents.
The galley of pics below is a mix, so enjoy… click on the pic for a larger image…

QUITO, CARNIVAL & Buses

It’s Feb 08 and next weekend Carnival is coming … Ecuador’s Mardi-Gras…
Four days of festivals, parades, dancing in the streets, festive dress and water throwing… yes balloons filled with water, pans, buckets, bottles and sometimes hoses of water coming at cha. Each province has it’s own celebration and style but the water throwing is everywhere. A mass exodus of people out of the city to the beach was all I needed to know to make the decision to head in the opposite direction.
I haven’t yet been to Quito, the capital of Ecuador so the cooler temperatures, a bus ride thru the mountains and a chance to go to the Otavalo markets just an hour away from Quito sounded good to me. As always in Ecuador though…there’s a hitch..Expect the Unexpected.
A little bit of research showed that there are lots of buses that go to Quito from Guayaquil and usually you just buy a ticket at the bus terminal the day of your journey. Well forgetting that this is Carnival weekend proved interesting.
So there’s this special non-stop bus running only from Guayaquil to Quito but what time it runs is a guess and you need to buy the ticket at bus company location. Figuring on a 9 hour trip…best to get to the bus company early and get going, sounds good huh?
The place is super packed with long lines for ticket purchasers of families and their belongings all buying tickets to Quito via Transporte Ecuador. Finally at the ticket counter…all buses sold out until the 12:45 pm bus.. That just added three hours to the already nine hour trip.
Knowing that the bus will stop at the terminal ..just down the street from here and knowing there is a mall there, might as well grab a taxi and get a coffee at Sweet ‘n Coffee, Ecuador’s Starbucks.
The mall is wall to wall people, line ups of people buying tickets, people with bags of stuff and of course line ups of people at the coffee counter.. oh well..
With all this action thought it was best to get to the bus platform early… ah … but because this ticket wasn’t purchased at this location you need an additional ticket for the right to board the bus at this location… YES… back downstairs thru the mass and to the ticket counter, thank goodness most people were going in the opposite direction..
Finally on the bus at 1:20 pm…this is going to be a long journey in the night..up the mountains in the dark…hummm
The only thing really special or different about this bus was no one standing in the aisles. That’s a good thing, no need to dodge elbows in the ears and babies falling in your lap. But alas no A/C, well for the passengers anyway, Mr Driver and Mr. Conductor shut the door between us and them! We have the windows open but when driving slowing through the towns, those windows became targets for the kids and their water balloons… soon all the windows are closed. The bus very quickly becomes a sauna and just before I faint or throw up… I knock on the diving door and say I am sick ,we need air… the conductor opens the two top roof hatches.

You can feel the fresh air move in and then the conductor closes his door…. the air movement slows down. Some of us open the windows while moving and close them when passing through the towns…but the heat is melting us and for me who has motion sickness I am not fairing all that well.

Oh and just to add colour to this story… crazy lady in the seat behind me is sure to make herself known by dry coughing as loud as possible as often as possible…hey I get being sick but can ya cover your mouth please rather than spraying air borne virus molecules over the back of my neck? I mean inside of this bus is the perfect petri dish for growing cultures!

One stop/bathroom break at about 7:00 pm and off we go…lots of lines of traffic lights winding through the mountains, it’s late so we can have the windows open now… Avatar (in Spanish) is playing on the screen, then a kid’s movie about a pet pig. It’s quiet now, the movies are over and it’s late…. the heat makes you very tired…. so why not blast some mariachi music over the speakers? Let’s just say the woman I was traveling with put a stop to that asap.. She speaks Spanish so they had no trouble understanding her!

We arrive at the north bus terminal in Quito around 11:30 pm.. I felt like I just stepped off a boat! I fall into bed and feel like I am swimming.

TOO HOT to POST

Yes, winter is here in Ecuador in January. But winter here is actually summer and thus comes the heat and humidity. You sweat just opening your eyelids in the morning, changing clothes two or three times a day, taking a couple or three showers per day and the ‘it’s too hot to eat’ explains my ‘it’s too hot to post’.
My skin tingles as the water evaporates and hits the hot air signaling the need for water to avoid dehydration. My fingers swell trying to conserve water, “drink more water” my body says. A fan is a must when laying down during the midday sun to preserve energy. Oh and trying to fall asleep at night…I don’t think so! No skin on skin contact please, no bent legs or arms. Don’t forget to put a hand towel on my pillow. The hot humid air is as heavy as a winter coat on my body but this coat can’t be removed.
oh and those extra items of clothing that a women has to wear in this heat…..a bra that feels like a harness that is two sizes too small or the pressure points from the elastic seams on your undies that dig into your bum….off it all goes as soon as I get into my room.
And finally ladies… ya know when it’s too hot when the toilet seat lifts and drops when you get up from your 2 sec tinkle!
I’ve tried to run/walk early in the morning at about 6:30 am to get some sort of exercise but the breeze off the ocean is deceiving, it seems fresh and cooling but the shower of perspiration during the ‘cool down’ walk tells the true story. I’m glad I brought my yoga mat for stretching. I’ve unfortunately lost most of the muscle mass I gained from workouts with my personal trainer in Edmonton, way too hot to lift weights. A long sort of brisk walk down the beach then up the hill and around from the other side of town early in the evening is easier on the joints than a jog anyway.

You would think that all I had to do was jump in the ocean and all would be better huh? Well it is for a short time! The temperature of the ocean seems to be at almost the same temperature as my body, unlike lakes in Canada, it’s easy to wade in and dive into the waves. All of the cool down effect is lost just within the short two blocks walking back to the house.

How do I take a picture to show you how hot it is?